Two years ago, 17-year-old Jacob Redfearn and two friends, 19-year old Maxwell Cook and 16-year old Jake Woodruff, conspired with getaway driver Elizabeth Rodriguez, 21, to burglarize an Oklahoma home. Dressed in black and wearing masks and gloves, with one of the three young men carrying a knife, and another brass knuckles, the home invaders were all shot dead by the homeowner’s son, who used a legally purchased AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. Rodriguez was charged with felony murder.
It is tragic that the three young morons met a premature end due to their fatal choices, but it isn’t tragic that the shooter had the means to protect himself and did. That’s not how Leroy Schumacher, the grandfather of Redfearn, saw it. He maintained that the deaths of his grandson and his fellow home invaders were unfair because the AR-15 gave the shooter an unfair advantage.
Now we know where Jacob inherited his reasoning ability.
Speaking to reporters, Schumacher complained, “What these three boys did was stupid. They knew they could be punished for it but they did not deserve to die. Brass knuckles against an AR-15? C’mon. Who was afraid for their life?”
Right. Why would anyone be afraid of home invaders? Come on!
Talk about stupid: on the evening of November 14, 1959, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith entered a farm house through an unlocked door while the family inside slept. Discovering the safe they planned on breaking into didn’t exist, they bound and gagged the family. They slit homeowner Herb Clutter’s throat and shot him in the head. Then they killed the children, Kenyon, and Nancy, and Mrs. Clutter each by a single shotgun blast to the head. The two knuckleheads left their haul with a small portable radio, a pair of binoculars, and less than $50 in cash.
I can’t decide whether that home invasion was worse than the 2007 Cheshire, Connecticut crime, when two men bludgeoned a father with a baseball bat and left him for dead as they burned down his home around his two daughters and his wife, who had been raped and murdered. Both were just stupid, of course.
I don’t like those stories, which are true (the first was the basis for Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”) I like the fictional tale told in “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” much better, in which two stupid young women and a stupid young man, all members of the Manson Family, take a wrong turn end up at a neighbor’s house instead of Roman Polanski’s mansion. There they are successively and entertainingly slaughtered, one by a well-trained pit bull, one by having her head smashed to pulp by a house guest skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and the last by being cooked alive in a swimming pool by a the homeowner wielding a flame-thrower.
Anyone who invades a home for any reason deserves whatever befalls them. What is the theory Grandpa was espousing here? He wants rules for defending your home against what may well be a deadly incursion? Should the homeowner be required to have to shout from behind a door, “OK, now, you guys tell me what weapons you have, so it’s a fair fight. Just knives and brass knuckles? OK, I’m getting my baseball bat. Fair enough?”
“There’s got to be a limit to that law, I mean he shot all three of them. There was no need for that,” Gramps argued. “That law” is the law of self-defense, which is why the shooter won’t and shouldn’t be charged. The law doesn’t require a potential victim to risk his or her life gambling on what kind of deadly force is “enough.” Nor should it.
The old man may have bebeen addled by grief, or senile, or perhaps he was always stupid. Ignore him; the greater concern is how many other people think this way. I suspect it’s quite a few, especially among anti-gun zealots and gun-grabbing politicians, who are prone to justify gutting the Second Amendment by telling citizens how much firepower they “need.”
I’ll decide how much protection I need when three strangers break into my home while I’m in it, thanks. If I decide it’s an AR-15, so be it, and if the invaders are hopelessly outgunned, good.
They should consider themselves lucky that I don’t have a flame-thrower.
[Clarification: This event occurred two years ago. It has special resonance for me now, as the new Democratic majority in Virginia, where I live, plans to ban the gun used to defend that Oklahoma home. The post and its issues are not changed by the age of the episode, but I should have not depended on the links provided to convey that detail.]